The Logo Design Process: Getting the Most Brand For Your Buck

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Designing a logo is a lot like deciding to paint your house. You probably have an idea of the finished product in mind. You’re already leaning toward specific colors and a time frame. What you don’t have is the ladder, brushes and a process to do it all as efficiently as possible. So you decide to hire somebody to paint for you, somebody with the tools, know how, and experience.

Every creative task, painting homes or designing logos, takes an even mix of skills and supplies. But most importantly, it takes time. When you hire the right agency to create a logo that represents your brand, you’re paying for a process that has been tested and perfected to be transparent and increase efficiency.

Knowledge of the design, or redesign, process can better prepare your organization to communicate your goals and have a more positive experience with an agency partner. Here’s a sneak peek into our tried and tested process:

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Discovery Meeting

We meet you. You meet us. This is key to forming a good working relationship and arguably some of the most valuable time spent throughout the logo design process. Typically this is about an hour with perhaps a project manager and at least one graphic designer representing the agency. You’ll want to invite your key stakeholders to this meeting. If it’s a logo redesign or rebranding, these folks possess valuable historical brand knowledge that’s worth sharing with the agency early on. Takeaways from this meeting include solidifying the project goals and timeline.

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Research

Exactly what it sounds like, the research phase can often take longer than creating the final logo design. Research includes everything from Google image searches to competitive analysis. Research is imperative to developing a strategy, too. Making sure your brand’s new logo feels at home amongst your competitors, but is unique enough to stand out from the crowd, is a big part of the overall design strategy. After the research phase is complete, a graphic designer can launch straight into initial sketches.

 

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Sketching

At this point, it's likely been about two weeks since the discovery meeting and you’re probably anxious to see something. However, sketches can take many forms, from whiteboard doodles, to markings in a sketchbook, they can even rendered digitally using a program like Adobe Illustrator.

The design team is working diligently to craft and hone a few different options for you to review within a week or so. If the agency has their stuff together, you’ll probably receive some sketches that are near-perfect. Now it’s time for your second meeting.

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Concept Presentation

With black and white concepts in hand, the agency will call for a meeting to present those designs to your team. Don’t worry about them being black and white, there’s a reason color variations are typically reserved for a follow up meeting.

Viewing your new logo design in black and white allows for a discussion about form and function uninhibited by the distraction of color. During this meeting, the agency will seek the most candid, honest feedback your team can muster. There is nothing worse, or more expensive, than venturing down a path nobody ever really bought into.

Though color variations are not present, this discussion should yield a general direction. If you’re doing a rebrand, they’re may be legacy colors that need to remain while others may be up for tweaking. Regardless, the agency's designers have probably already been thinking about the perfect hue. The genius lies in picking a color that transcends your logo and comes to be associated with your brand.

 

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Applying Color

Actionable items from the initial concept meeting are now being executed with sharpened focus. Your team gave good feedback and the agency now has the direction it needs to bring it all together.

Color options are being explored and the branding experts are strategizing reasons for each choice in the brand’s eventual palette. Color is applied to the polished logo concepts (usually down to just one or two at this point) and you should be seeing something in a week’s time.

The agency has now had a solid month to work on your company’s new logo. The discovery meeting, research, sketching, and concept presentation have gotten us to this point and everything is about to pay off.

 

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Logo Presentation

As you reassemble your team for another meeting, the agency team is ready to pull off the reveal you’ve been patiently waiting for.

During this meeting, the logo is revealed and open for a last round of discussion and praise. However, it’s likely you’re not done yet, even if it’s just a few final tweaks before receiving final files.

In order to sell you on their product (your logo), the agency will likely have a few materials mocked up that feature your new logo. Business card designs, apparel concepts and other environmental graphic design is typical. A lot of this collateral is key to creating a cohesive brand and ensuring your logo scales well out in the wild. And if the logo design you’ve helped shape is planned as part of a system, a lot of these tertiary brand elements should feel right at home next to your new logo.

 

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Collecting Files

Along with your brand new logo. formatted for print and digital use, your agency should also provide you with a host of other files. These usually include print -ready files for your stationery system (business cards, letterheads, envelopes), social media graphics like profile images and page banners and even environmental mockups.

Perhaps the most important piece you’ll get is a visual identity guide. Armed with this all-encompassing document, your in-house marketing team can now ensure proper use of your new brand assets (logo, color and fonts) in all marketing materials. The graphic standards guide will go a long way toward establishing and protecting your brand equity.

 

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That’s it!

You’ve gone through the logo design process from start to finish. At the very least, you’re now equipped with a general sense of what to expect and what your role will be as a client. While the details may differ from agency to agency and project to project, the framework remains the same. Afterall, some people will paint the trim of the house first, where others will start with the siding.

What matters most is that the job gets done efficiently, under budget and on time.

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Topics: logo design, Graphic Design, Design

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